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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

20 Libya troops killed in clashes with Daesh terrorists in Sirtre

Iran Press TV

Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:23AM

At least 20 members of forces loyal to the Libyan unity government have lost their lives as they engaged in clashes with Takfiri Daesh terrorists in the northern city of Sirte.

The loyalists to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) said in a statement that 105 of their troops were also injured in Friday's fighting around the Ouagadougou conference hall complex, which serves as a command headquarters for Daesh militants in Sirte.

Friday's confrontation was reportedly the fiercest in the coastal city in recent weeks.

Ahmed Hadia, a spokesman for the pro-government soldiers, said the latest skirmishes around Sirte's conference center had been underway for two days, adding, "Our forces entered the complex and are fighting (but) they still cannot take the complex."

Friday's casualties "were a result of targeting by snipers and of mines" by the extremists, Haida said, noting that the militants had further tried unsuccessfully to counter attack with three car bombs.

Meanwhile, Daesh said on Twitter that two of its elements, a Libyan and an Egyptian, carried out bombings in southern Sirte targeting government forces.

Libyan forces launched a military operation in May to retake Sirte, which fell to Daesh in last year. They managed to enter the city on June 9 and, since then, they have liberated a number of residential districts.

The two-month battle for Sirte has left around 250 pro-government forces dead over 1,400 others wounded, according to medical sources at the unity forces' command center.

Sirte's recapture would be a major blow to Daesh, which has faced a series of setbacks in Syria and Iraq.

Libya has been dominated by violence since a NATO military intervention followed the 2011 uprising that led to the toppling and killing of longtime dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.

The oil-rich African state has had two rival administrations since mid-2014, when militants overran the capital and forced the parliament to flee to the country's remote east.

The two governments achieved a consensus on forming a unity government, the GNA, last December after months of UN-brokered talks in Tunisia and Morocco to restore order to the country.

Daesh has taken advantage of the political chaos in Libya to increase its presence there.

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